The 17 February Martyr’s Brigade, or 17 Feb, was the largest and most well-known militia group in Libya at the time of the attack. Its moniker refers to an incident on that date in 2006, when Libyan security forces killed a group of people outside the Italian consulate in Benghazi.
The militia was born during the war against Qaddafi, taking advantage of the security vacuum to collect weapons and recruit personnel. After the September 11 attack on the compound, members merged into Ansar al-Sharia, a coalition terror organization whose name means “Partisans of Sharia Law.”
However, there appears to be no explanation for why the State Department chose a known Jihadist group to protect Americans in a war-torn Islamic nation.